Milwaukee Aprilia score points in difficult Race Two at Losail
Losail International Circuit, 04/11/17
Milwaukee Aprilia experienced a difficult Race 2 at the 2017 WorldSBK finale in Qatar, Eugene Laverty scoring the team 9 points in P7.
Laverty and teammate Lorenzo Savadori started the race P1 and P2 after strong rides to P4 ad P5. Eugene made a rapid getaway in the lead, defending against the fast-starting Davies and Sykes. Lorenzo had a slow start, dropping to P18 after running wide at Turn 1. Lorenzo encountered electronic problems on Lap 2 that had surfaced in the warm-up session, and was forced to stop his bike on the pit straight and retire.
Eugene was struggling with grip from his rear tyre early on, causing his pace to drop and lose places. He fought hard within the top five, but dropped to P6 on Lap 5. As his rear grip continued to cause him problems, he was passed by Fores and was caught by Guintoli. Determined to defend his position Eugene fought hard with him, as they passed and re-passed each other all the way to the line. Able to use the imperious speed of his Aprilia, Eugene defended well against Guintoli and eventually finished P7 with 9 points to secure tenth in the championship.
With a year of valuable experience to use in their first year as Milwaukee Aprilia, the joint forces of SMR and Aprilia Racing will head into winter testing with a good base for the Aprilia RSV4-RF as they prepare to fight for the 2018 Superbike World Championship.
Shaun Muir - Team Principal
"We started this year with high expectations as a team, but we soon realised we were further back than we initially thought. In Australia we were in a strong position naturally, but we perhaps didn't realise that immediately. As a result we have gone full circle after full circle in trying to progress and innovate, but we have learnt and grown as a team and have many reasons to be positive.
We've finished this weekend with a setting that gives us a good base for the RSV4-RF to use in winter testing, a setting that we should have had at the start of 2017. We had our best finish of the year yesterday with P4 and P5, and in general the last four races have found us in a really good position. They have helped us to consolidate what we have learnt, and we go into next season with a wealth of experience and knowledge to utilise. SMR is a smarter team now and we are constantly building and increasing our capabilities. Another big factor from this year is that Aprilia Racing now have a good direction to follow, and together we are determined to succeed.
Both of our riders are also more confident with the machinery. They have struggled at times this year and have not always had the best package to compete with, but their feedback has helped shape our direction for the Aprilia and in testing we aim to further develop the bike and the riders' comfort with it. 2017 has been difficult for us, but we hope to start 2018 in a stronger position and to be able to challenge for the podium regularly."
Eugene Laverty #50 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Race: P7, 9 points
"I felt such a potential for the bike heading into Race Two, and it was a disappointing result really. We made the same forward steps overnight that we’ve been making all weekend, but there was something really strange going on with the rear tyre. I did what I could with the electronic to help me grip, but I haven’t had a Pirelli act like that before where it was jumping, and that needs investigating.
It was a decent battle with Guintoli for seventh and I was able to utilise the bike’s power to get past, but it wasn’t where we should have been. The bike was working well in areas that we’ve struggled previously such as fast corners, but I didn’t have a rear tyre to make use of the bike that I had.
It’s been a positive year for us overall. We started the year further back than we expected which was hard to deal with, but we’ve all dug deep and gradually made good progress. The second half of the year has been really positive and we’ve found a good direction to go in. We’ve focussed less on numbers and more on rider and bike feedback, and that has helped us make huge progress. I’m looking forward to the 2018 season; we will work very hard over the winter and from Phillip Island our target will be the podium. Everyone is very dedicated and determined in this team and I’m confident we will have a good year."
Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
“I'm not sure exactly what was wrong with the bike in the race. We had an electronic issue in the warm up session and there was a problem on my sighting lap to the grid. It was an unlucky result for us, because the bike felt good.
I made a slow start and I went wide at the first corner where I lost a lot of positions. I was starting to make up positions quickly and my pace was good, but the race was over on the second lap when it stopped on the straight.
It was not a simple year for us, but we have learnt a lot. The first half of the year we didn't make much progress and for sure we could have been better. The second half of the year after testing was like a new season for us, and was much better. The race yesterday was good for us, and I hope we can keep up good performances next year. We need to work a lot over the winter to reduce the gap to the guys at the front, but I am positive because the team has been great this year and we have learnt so much."